It was an exciting week for Congress, as dozens of newly elected Representatives arrived on Capitol Hill to prepare for the Republican Majority and chart a new path for America. In the midst of forming new friendships and attending meetings, a number of critical issues remained under consideration in Congress.
As we entered this week, it was unclear if all Congressional Republicans would vote to ban the practice of earmark spending. By Wednesday, we had our answer, and I'm proud to report that House and Senate Republicans voted to ban earmarks for the next two years. For too long, earmarks have frustrated Americans, as the backroom deals and reckless spending became a frequent source of national outrage. Your votes on Election Day sent a clear message, so we won't stop here. Banning earmarks is just the first step toward reforming Congress into a more accountable institution that truly respects taxpayers.
Even though the elections shifted control of the House, the Democrat Majority remains until January, which means we have to lock horns on a variety of issues during the "lame duck" session. At this time, the most important mission we have is to prevent the largest tax increase in American history from being levied on every taxpayer. What's at stake is $3.9 trillion in tax hikes starting on January 1, 2011, if we do not extend the tax cuts of 2001 and 2003. As we work hard to prevent the tax increases, I want to be clear that I will not vote for any deal that increases taxes on anyone, from the lowest income earners to our small business owners.
Big government has had its chance. The four-year Democrat Majority spent, borrowed, and then spent some more. Nevertheless, their promise of new jobs has been a broken one, and we are left with an unemployment rate near 10% and a national debt that is racing toward the staggering figure of $14 trillion.
To spur long-term economic growth and new jobs for the unemployed, we must fundamentally reverse the course of our country and refocus our policies on empowering the private sector. If we cut spending, rule out any tax increases, and repeal overreaching government programs like ObamaCare, Congress will stabilize the economy so businesses can once again plan for the future and bring prosperity to our communities.